Thursday, January 19, 2012


Lucy returns home with her stepfather, who, as she’d predicted, beats the shit out of her, and all the bravery she felt earlier gets kicked away…

Lucy:  I can’t can’t

He’s hurting me.  He kicks my shin like a little girl, only he has on steel-toed boots, and I collapse.  Now he kicks my in the stomach.  If I throw up, he’ll make me eat it for all I know.  If I throw up, he’ll definitely beat the shit out of me.

He’s already

Holding my knees to my chest, biting my lip so I don’t scream, I wonder how far it is to my backpack, and can I make it, and if I do can I pull out the scissors I stole from the school nurse, and can I stab him and stop him from ever beating me again?

Can I can I

I can’t can’t

Have to

Be strong

Not wimp




Thursday, January 5, 2012


Caroline is eleven and a half – a tween, and that feels like the worst age to be, the worst way to be ever, no matter how much everyone thinks her feelings aren’t real, or at least aren’t really important.

Caroline:  These are just feelings, that’s what my mother said.
She doesn’t know, or understand, or probably even care what feelings I’m having, but she says not to worry, not to get so worked up and anxious because they’re just feelings.
Like, feeling left out.
Or feeling like I can’t do anything right.
Feeling like everyone’s mad at me all the time.
Feeling like crying now, then, here, there and everywhere.
Seriously.  Just feelings, she says. 
Feelings aren’t facts.

So here’s how it started, I think:
First, the funeral for my Grandma Caroline, whom I’m named after, except she pronounced it Caro-line, and I pronounce it Caro-leen, which everyone used to think was me being creative when I was six and seven and eight, but now everyone seems to think I’m just being difficult.
My Aunt Lisa said, “Caroline is such a lovely name, why would you want to change it?” 
Then she started crying, and I felt like it was my fault, like I ought to be carrying on my grandmother’s name.
And then, I couldn’t muster up any tears at the funeral and my mother said sometimes she worries because I’m so cold and so wrapped up in only myself, except whenever I do cry she starts to cry because she says all she ever does is try to make me happy and…
Anyway, feelings aren’t facts, right?
So the facts are, I never really knew my Grandma Caroline, not like my cousins did, so I wasn’t sorry she was dead – not that I wanted her dead, just that I didn’t know her and I didn’t care that much. 
Fact:  I didn’t cry at the funeral.
Fact:  When they took out the food, the chicken wings were like slimy and undercooked and didn’t look like real buffalo wings, and the dip had spinach in it and when I started to cry then, my mother said to everyone that I just had low blood sugar, and she told me to eat something, and I said I wasn’t hungry, and she said to have a piece of pie at least, so I did, but it was lemon merangue, so it was all slimy, and I didn’t understand how I could be so hungry and there could be two tables of food out and still there was nothing I could eat.
Fact:  My mother told me to go to my room until I got a hold of myself.
First I can’t cry at the right time, then I can’t stop at the right time – or was it the wrong time, I don’t even know.
Fact:  As I half-stomped, half-slinked upstairs to my room, I heard my mother telling my Aunt Lisa that she (my Mom) didn’t know what to make of me, and my Aunt Lisa said, “She’s just at that age, where she doesn’t know if she wants to be a kid or an adult,” and my mother said, “I hear it only gets worse,” and she and my aunt laughed in a way that was like they didn’t really think I was funny, they thought I was horrible.  They thought I was too much trouble already, and how could I get any worse?
Will I?
Will I feel worse than this?
Hopeless, confused, abandoned, sorry, lonely, mad, sad.
These are only my feelings, but they sure feel like facts.